Indigenous Criminal Justice: Where to from here?

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph”       Haile Selassie

Please find notice below:

ICJ (Qld) Inc. invites you to a panel discussion
on current approaches and suggested reforms in criminal justice and sentencing
for Indigenous persons

· Professor Chris Cunneen has undertaken extensive criminological research and analysis, participated in a number of policy reviews for both government and non-government bodies in New South Wales and now Queensland, and written widely on issues of policing, restorative justice, corrections and juvenile justice with a specific focus on Indigenous persons.

· Magistrate Jacqui Payne was appointed to the Magistrates Court in 1999. She often presides in the Murri Court. Prior to that, she was a criminal lawyer, for a time employed by ATSILS before running her own firm.

· Ms Coralie Ober has wide-ranging experience working in areas such as Indigenous health, community development and education, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, including having worked for Queensland Corrective Services. Her current area of special interest is rehabilitation options for female offenders.

ON: Tuesday, 31 August 2010, 5.30 – 7.00pm

WHERE: Bar Common Room, Lvl 5 Inns of Court, North Quay

COST: Nil for ICJ members, $10 for non-members

CPD: 1 CPD point per hour (non-allocated strand) ICJ100831

RSVP to: by Friday 27 August 2010


3 thoughts on “Indigenous Criminal Justice: Where to from here?

  1. The problem with all of this, and ANTAR’s “10%” criminal justice campaign. and most of the outcomes (which were few) of the Royal commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Commission is that they all assume that the problem lies in the Aboriginal community through things such as addiction, family violence, poverty and lack of education etc.

    Similarly they begin their analysis and their programs at the point of arrest, assuming that arrest in the first place is legitimate and unavoidable – focusing on the mode of incarceration and sentencing options for convicted people, theoretically to remedy the underlying problem that got them arrested in the first place.

    But the real cause of the high Aboriginal incarceration rates is racist modes of policing and this generally escapes scrutiny in all the concern over reforming the criminal justice system.

    The way a community such as Palm Island or Doomadgee are policed is very different from how Toowong or Wynnum are policed. Parks such as Musgrave Park or Little Musgrave Park are policed very differently from Orleigh Park or the botanic gardens. Aboriginal individuals on the street are policed very differently from white individuals on the street.

    You can have all the mental health programs in the world, but if the police pick up a mentally ill Aboriginal person and charge them initially with public nuisance, then resisting arrest and assaulting police when they do not want to go, and then take them to the watchouse instead of hospital, if they are lucky enough not to get shot that is, and then into gaol on remand because they have no fixed address, then any benefit a mental health program as part of sentencing will have will be far out-weighed by the intense trauma and damage of the arrest and imprisonment.

    Murri court with its illegal incentive to plead guilty simply legitimises the racist mode of policing by accepting the facts of the arrest as stated by the arresting officer, and thus fast tracking the criminalisation of Aboriginal people.

    Until modes of policing is addressed then all the rest is not just irrelevant but a distraction from the real problem.

  2. No video record permitted says:

    Hello John,

    I wrote to the International Commission of Jurists to ask if I could record the forum on video.

    Paula Morreau, barrister, replied:

    After consulting with the ICJ management committee, we have decided not to permit the discussion to be videoed and further published. But you are welcome to attend.

    I wrote back:

    May I inquire the reason not to permit a video record?

    Ian Curr
    August 2010

  3. They run with the wolves and hunt with the hounds says:

    I have received a reply from Paula Morreau on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), it reads:

    Dear Ian,

    It was considered by the Committee that it will be more conducive to having a candid, less formal discussion of these issues, that it not be published (videoed) in this way.

    Look forward to seeing you on the night hopefully.


    My response reads:

    Hello Paula,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Sometimes an historical record can be conducive to informed debate of crucial topics such as this (Justice for indigenous people in the Qld Criminal Justice System).

    On Saturday I asked the Attorney General, Cameron Dick, if it is lawful to kill a blackfella in Queensland (alluding to police killing Mulrunji).
    Cameron Dick replied: “Ian, it is not lawful for anyone to kill anyone else”.

    When I pressed him on the failure of the prosecution to put forward its best case because of police conspiracy, he told me that Hurley was acquitted by a jury as if to say that was the end of the matter.

    His offsider, a young barrister, derided me for claiming conspiracy and Cameron Dick said that it is very difficult to disprove allegations of conspiracy.

    I wish I had an audio record of that conversation.

    However this is a matter for your committee and I will respect your wishes.

    PS I did not attend the forum

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